My first smoke ever - Pulled Pork on WSM 22.5 (w/ QView)

Discussion in 'Pork' started by krubby, Dec 23, 2014.

  1. krubby

    krubby Smoke Blower

    Thanks really to a lot of you on this site, and your various posts, I think I fairly successfully accomplished my FIRST "smoke" on my WSM I got about a week ago.

    I had thought about going easy and doing chicken or something, and then figured what the heck and did a 7.2lbs boston butt.

    I did season the unit the day before, ran it for about 4 hours, then did the rub on Sunday, and smoked yesterday (Monday).

    A few things I learned:

    1) Started with WAY too much charcoal in my chimney.  I did the minion method and I know I read in a few places to use 10-15 coals, but for some reason just filled chimney almost 3/4th full and that generated way too much heat at first.  Had to shut the dampers and wait about an hour.   

    2) I think I paid way too much for the hunk of meat.  Was $3.39 lb. at a local grocer.  seems high, I will have to look for better prices.  Costco had same thing for $2.09 lbs but smallest they had was a 14 + lb.  I know I could of bought that, cut in half, froze etc but didn't feel like dealing with all that.  I will have to look around or better prices I think.  just seemed high.

    3) Stall was real - hit 160 and parked itself there for about 3-4 hours.  then bam broke the barrier and then just crept up again slowly for another 3-4 hours

    4) Overall I did really well keeping the WSM temp at ~ 230.  Took about 12 hours to cook not counting the ~ 1 hour it took to get the temp down.

    So virgin run, I think worked well.  Tasted great so I guess that is what mattered.

    Please give me any hints or corrections (not that there is a 'right' way to do this) BUT I am trying to learn so all feedback is welcome

    here are some pics:

    Rub ingredients:

    Close up of the Rub:

    Pork Shoulder (think I paid too much but oh well):

    Debated using Mustard or Oil for the rub to stick to, decided to use mustard

    Rub on, into fridge for about 24 hours....

    WSM apart, ready to get started.  6:30am...

    Charcoals in, again I used WAY too much.  Rookie error.

    Some wood chucks to start.  I used 1/2 Apple 1/2 Hickory.  Tried to keep smoke for about 5 hours.  This is one thing I had an issue finding out details on - how long to actually keep smoke going, so I tried to keep it closer to about 5 hours and not over smoke. 

    About 9 hours in.  I won't bore you with the other 3-4 I took throughout the day.  I was tempted to take one every houtr but way too much opening and closing of lid

    Finished Products  I think this is a good bark, but again this was my first so who knows:

    Pulled (this was about 1/2, in a 9 1/2X 11" pan).  I think had a good smoke ring

    Last edited: Dec 23, 2014
    wade and crazymoon like this.
  2. bear55

    bear55 Master of the Pit

    Looks nice, do you know what the internal temp of the butt was when you pulled it?
  3. krubby

    krubby Smoke Blower

    Internal temp was 195. I wanted to go to about 200 but with the earlier delay due to the coals it was almost 10pm and I had anxious kids that wanted dinner before bed. Plus I let it rest for about 45 minutes.
  4. krubby

    krubby Smoke Blower

    Referenced this site a lot btw, thanks to all for the previous posts, helps us newbies
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2014
  5. crazymoon

    crazymoon Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    KR,Looks darn good for a first smoke. Everyone here will tell you to write down what  and how you did your smokes so you can duplicate or change for the next one,well done !
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2014
  6. Excellent job!  You're close enough from reading that you're gonna learn thru trial and error from here.  You'll figure out what you like and don't like.  Personally, I would not want visible smoke for five hours but that's just me.  I only use one or two chunks for the entire cook.  If you do you just have to either keep adding smoke wood thru the door (the BEST feature of the WSM) or bury some wood in the unlit pile.  Again, nice job.
  7. ogtbagger

    ogtbagger Newbie

    I am in the same boat. Just bought a 22.5 WSM. The butt was my third smoke on the WSM and you are not kidding about the stall. It was a true test patience. I finally calmed down when the temp started to climb again.
  8. mdm6

    mdm6 Newbie

    Pulled pork looks ace!

    I'm hoping to carry out my first smoke in a few days, should all the charcoal be grey/white before the food goes in?
  9. geerock

    geerock Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Looks like you done good. Once you get a little more familiar with that WSM you'll avoid those delays.... just like with all cookers. Don't be afraid to try some higher cook temps with butt, shoulder, brisket..... those meats can take it and it can help drive you thru those pesky stalls.
  10. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Congrats KRubby!  Great looking smoke. 

    At my local Costco the pork butt package is usually two boneless butts packed in the same package.  You can smoke one and freeze one. 

    I use 3/4 chimney of hot charcoal when aiming for a chamber temp of 275-300F.  1/3 chimney is plenty for 225F.  1/2 for 250-260F. 

    For a nice temp and even smoke; put down a single layer of briquettes in the charcoal ring, then a few pieces of wood (3-4 fist size pieces), another layer of charcoal to cover the wood and fill the ring, then another 3-4 pieces of wood.  Dump the hot coals in the center.  Once the grey/white smoke dies down the hot charcoals will pre-heat the cold charcoal and wood so you can get a nice consistent application of blue or colorless smoke and heat for the entire length of the smoke. 

    If using used charcoal from your last smoke (highly recommended), you already have a layer of charcoal.  Just add the wood, cover with charcoal to fill the ring, more wood then the hot charcoal.  You're off and smoking again for up to 20-24 hours, or two hours, whatever.  I often only add a little wood and hot charcoal to what's already in the smoker.   
  11. krubby

    krubby Smoke Blower

    I will have to check that out.  I did not look that closely last time, just saw the total weight and thought "way too much meat for my first attempt.."  If it is separated that would be great.  I know I can just cut it in half anyway but still this is just that much easier.  I do like Costco's meat department.

    Thanks for the tip on the charcoal.  As I said earlier I read and reread posts and books etc and then the morning came and I just filled the whole chimney and away I went.  Just a mental hiccup.  I will pay much more attention to the number of coals etc. next time.  I way over did it and had a super hot cooker going, especially since it has not gotten that broken in heat damper going yet.

    I also brew beer and I actually created a checklist (kind of like airplane pilots would use) even though I have done 40 + brews, just as reminders not to forget something basic on brew or bottling day.

    I don't have any used charcoal from this last (first) time but in the future if I do I will follow that advice.

    Next up???  The Asian Ribs from Jeff's book.  Will be a New Years day smoke. I bought the Kindle edition (currently $2.99 - what a deal...)
  12. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    It looks good and thank you for the great photos.

    One of the hardest things to master in the beginning is the temperature control in your smoker. It looks as if you took the same first steps that most of us took and have learned from them. One piece of advice I would offer is that when doing your next shoulder don't change too many things at once. You ended up with what looks like a beautiful tray of pulled pork so just tweak a couple of things to see if it improves the end result. You appear to have also taken good notes of the process - this is also important for repeating your success next time.

    A great first smoke - well done [​IMG]
  13. patg

    patg Meat Mopper

    Great job! Best part of pork is that it is very forgiving. I was told that a couple of months ago by the smoking vets here and it couldn't be more true. Another important question what was the beverage of choice for this smoke?
  14. krubby

    krubby Smoke Blower

    Well Coffee at first, but it was ~ 6am ha ha.  But eventually Columbus Pale ale during the day (had a couple), and I think a Sam Adams Cherry Wheat for the meal.
  15. patg

    patg Meat Mopper

    Nice. Oh and the bark looked good. If you want to sweeten it a bit spritzing it with apple juice every couple hours gave my bark a hint of sweetness
  16. davidhef88

    davidhef88 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Just remember that every time you open the smoker you are adding time to the cook. I increased the brown sugar in my rub to make it sweeter. Spritzing also adds moisture (bark forms from the drying of the rub) which will decrease bark.
  17. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If necessary, I have started modifying my pulled pork once pulled by adding brown sugar, rub, etc. It really depends on the flavor of the meat.  Pork varies quite a bit. 

    People tend to over spritz, which washes away rub.  I even see it done on TV.  More is not better in spritzing.  To get a good candy bark you just very lightly spritz.  I rarely spritz butts but when I do I use an even part mix of cheap maple syrup, cheap triple sec (the alcohol boils off leaving the sweet orange flavor), and water.  Throw on some sugar based rub just before you lightly spritz and the sugar in the rub will harden.  Just dampen the rub you threw on the meat with the spritz.  If you see it washing off you are spritzing too much. Make sure your spritzer is sending out a wide, diffuse spray, not a stream like a squirt gun.  You only need to spritz butts every 2-4 hours, depending on the temp you are using. 

    Spritzing a butt will do absolutely nothing for its moistness.  It is a big hunk of meat that gets the juiciness from fat and connective tissue melting.   

    I use 99 cent "all purpose sprayer" bottles I get at HD for my spritzers.  I label them "Food Only."      
  18. patg

    patg Meat Mopper

    I spritz about 4 times during the smoke after the initial 3 hours or so. With my 40" gasser my chips burn off way to fast so after 2 or so hours I have to replenish the chips. That's when I spritz. And only like 2 pumps of a fine spray nothing crazy. Still a working out all the kinks, but that's the fun.
  19. krubby

    krubby Smoke Blower

    I did buy a cheap $0.99 sprayer (I actually got a red one for "apple" to remind me it is apple juice - I am so creative...) and I did spray it once fairly lightly.  But when I was wanting the temp to get up due to the lateness of the day and need to feed hungry children (always the trump card) I decided to just keep the lid on and let it cook away. 

    Next time hopefully I won't lose a few hours due to hot coal issues and can maybe spritz a few more times.
  20. nptwnsmkr

    nptwnsmkr Smoke Blower

    Here's a nice trick to help with the minion method. Cut the bottom out of a small coffee can, drill a hole in each side and install long wires as handles (I used rebar tie wire). Place the can in the center of the ring and layer your charcoal and wood chunks around it. Ten to fifteen lit charcoal fit perfectly into the can, lift out the can using the handles and you're good to go.

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